Highlands & Islands

Homes in new Alness community monitor residents' health

FitHome village Image copyright John Baikie
Image caption The FitHome village in Alness

The first residents have moved into a new community with homes that use Artificial Intelligence to help detect the onset of ill health.

Fourteen people aged 18 to 90 have taken up residence in the FitHome village in Dalmore, Alness.

The development is a pilot project involving Albyn Housing Society, Carbon Dynamic and NHS Highland.

The residents have agreed to have their health monitored by technology fitted to the homes.

Doors, windows and cooking appliances are fitted with a sensor, which gathers information on when and how often they are used.

Other sensor equipment monitors the movement of people through the houses.

Changes in residents' behaviour can be detected from the data, and provide a warning of a possible deterioration in their health.

Similar developments are planned for Nairn and Inverness.

Image copyright John Baikie
Image caption Dylan Bogue says the technology-equipped properties give him greater independence

Researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands are carrying out research into the Alness project.

One of the tenants, Dylan Bogue who is 19 and has muscular dystrophy, said: "Living in the new house has given me my independence back.

"I used to live with my Dad - which was great - but being in a home that I can now call my own is amazing.

"I didn't think this would ever be possible and now that I'm here, it's even better than I thought it would be."

Image caption The homes use Artificial Intelligence to monitor residents' wellbeing

Mr Bogue added: "The homes feel like any regular home but with the added benefit of having my wellbeing monitored around the clock."

Lucy Fraser, head of innovation at Albyn Housing Society, said: "At the heart of the FitHome concept is a shared vision which states that everyone should have the choice to live safe and well in their homes and communities for as long as they want.

"What's more, it demonstrates a collaborative approach to wellness by combining the principles of health, care and housing with modular home design and 'Internet of Things' technology - something we must embrace and take advantage of as we delve deeper into the digital age."

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, Maree Todd, described the pilot project as an "exemplary showcase of innovation".

Image caption The first tenants have moved into the community